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Cities prepare to kick off statewide warrant roundup

If the phone calls and letters from the municipal court aren’t enough to convince you to take care of your traffic warrants, perhaps a visit by an officer at your job will.

More than 250 law enforcement agencies across the state will kick off the annual warrant roundup on March 6 in which agencies collaborate to track down scofflaws regardless of jurisdictions. Several agencies were in Austin last week to announce the two-month roundup.

Agencies are giving residents until then to either pay their fines or make other arrangements to dispose of the warrants.

The warrant roundup includes many agencies in the Dallas/Fort Worth area including Arlington, Fort Worth, North Richland Hills, Colleyville, Kennedale, Forest Hill and Watauga.

In Arlington, more than 88,000 misdemeanor warrants have been issued to people who have failed to either appear in court or failed to pay traffic fines. The fines total more than $31 million.

“It’s better to take care of those warrants on your own time than allow warrant officer to handle them on theirs,” Arlington police Sgt. Becki Brandenburg said this week.

“The last thing we want to do is arrest people. We prefer they take the weeks before March 6 to take care of their warrants.”

In 2007, Arlington clear more than $700,000, $1.1 million in 2008 and $1.9 million 2009.

Warrants are considered cleared if payment has been received, jail time served or the case has been dismissed.

In Fort Worth, City Marshal Jesse Hernandez said he’s not focused on the number of outstanding warrants.

He too said he hopes to see an increase of “foot traffic” at the municipal court.

“In the past we’ve had a 35 percent increase of foot traffic before the roundup took place,” Hernandez said. “Hopefully we’ll see the same type of response.”

Hernandez added the Fort Worth roundup will concentrate on targeted areas of the city.

OUTSTANDING WARRANTS

Here’s a list of some of the cities in Tarrant County who have calculated the number of outstanding warrants:

Arlington 88,000

Colleyville 4,671

Forest Hill 2,495

Hudson Oaks 2,151

Kennedale 3,800

Lake Worth 5,200

Trophy Club 1,086

Watauga 3,600

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